Hey folks, how’s it going? It’s been awhile, I feel like I’m missing something… like three months worth of reviews for this site but I’m sure it’s not important. Seriously though there was a big plan for these reviews that sadly didn’t pan out over the last couple months, but I’m working on savaging something of it for the Spider-Men 1-3 reviews but for now let’s get down to this issue on our hands. Spoiler alert: Lots of crying- not just from the characters.
Story by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Sara Pichelli
Colors by Justin Ponsor
Letters by Cory Petit
Cover by Jimmy Cheung & Justin Ponsor
Editing by Mark Paniccia
The Story: When we last left our out of place hero Peter Parker of 616, he had gone to Aunt May’s house in a moment of passion and confusion. This, of course, starts poorly, with May passing out and Gwen reaching out to Mary Jane. At the same time, Fury is working with Tony Stark to find a way to get Peter home and Miles Morales (The Ultimate Spider-Man) shows up at the Parker residence. The two Spider-Men hang out with Gwen, who proceeds to swap stories about the different universe with Peter in an incredibly heart-touching scene, which is only amplified when May comes into the picture. The time spent amongst the multi-dimensional Parkers is cut short by Fury and as Peter leaves, he sees Mary Jane for a split second. However Fury stops him from going after her. Peter brings Miles with him to the SHIELD carrier instead of letting Fury send him home and Peter meets a Tony for whom he never worked for and proceeds to help him figure out the dimensional rift problem. Before they can fix it, Mysterio broadcasts something and Miles recognizes the location in the video causing the Spider-Men to set out to take Mysterio down with the Ultimates in tow.
Thoughts: Anybody who really knows me or listens to the MMA Podcast knows I come down hard on Bendis a lot but it’s not without reason. I genuinely think he writes a lot of bad crap; too much dialogue at times, misunderstood characters, and ignoring continuity as he goes along. It hurts to read a lot of his stuff because I know he’s capable of producing solid gold- the kind of stuff that put Bendis on top of both the Marvel Universes. There are no fights in this script, but every line of dialogue here is solid gold. Bendis created and raised these characters in the Ultimate verse and though he rarely uses Peter to proper effect in 616, Bendis gets Peter Parker. I’m sure you could find some continuity flaw if you really wanted, but if you do, stop… you’re reading into it too hard, remember the original Ultimate Universe statement about continuity?
I picked up Spider-Men for this issue, no not specifically Issue #4, but the issue where Peter would come face to face with the people who no longer had him in their lives. Too many times you have read a story where it’s Peter Parker erased from history or some other gimmick to make the story work but this is built off of some incredible work that preceded it. The dialogue between May and Peter eventually leads to May finally getting to say goodbye to her son, give him her blessing, and lastly to approve of the man he becomes. I’ll be damned if it didn’t make me cry, not like one tear, but a good dozen or so. Not to mention the brief moment between Peter and MJ… Damn. Bendis knows one of the core facts of Peter Parker that others writing comics try to forget; Peter will always end up with Mary Jane. No matter whom Bendis pairs Peter up with in his comic, it has always had it come down to Mary Jane and I pray Peter gets a real scene with Ultimate Mary Jane before the series wraps. The way Bendis writes Mary Jane, it would be hard to picture her not getting involved.
Of course, the series is called “Spider-Men” not “Peter Parker the Dimensional Web-swinger” and Miles gets some cool moments here and there. Miles provides a lot of comedic relief and gets to finally play with the web-shooters; which firmly sets this story between Issue 12 and Issue 13 of Ultimate Spider-Man, 12 featuring a death that haunts Miles in a previous issue and 13 is when Miles acquires the web-shooters. Still, this wasn’t Miles’ issue- he’s about as big a player as Nick Fury and Tony Stark because this issue is about the Parker family.
The one thing I think my reviews sorely lack are a good artistic side of reviewing. I’m very much a man who values the story over the art and I can’t draw to save my life so it feels wrong to pass too much judgment over those who make a living off it. Still, I have to mention how Pichelli and Ponsor rocked it this issue. They make the conversation between Gwen, Peter, and Miles come to life with humor and energy and they deliver some solid visual emotion when the time came for them to shine.
Verdict: When a comic can invoke raw emotions from you, how do you justify giving it less than a perfect score? When a bundle of paper with pictures, bubbles, and text on it can make you infuriated, grin like a child, or choke up, I don’t bother. I can think of personal situations in my life that can’t do that! We have one issue left of this thing and though it looks to be an action packed fiesta, maybe Bendis can sneak in a couple more powerful scenes between Peter and Miles or Peter and Mary Jane before this story is over. Either way, this issue sold me on the concept of the two universes colliding and people need to stop bringing up that Quesada quote about how this would mean Marvel has no ideas left because this showed the potential in any story concept- even one they thought at one time would mean the end.